By KALANI CHEN-HAYES, age 9, GEORGIA REED-STAMM, age 10, and THEO YANOS, age 10

The Staten Island Occupy Sandy headquarters. CREDIT: JOHN DE GUZMAN
The Staten Island Occupy Sandy headquarters. PHOTO: John de Guzman

Before the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) came to town after Superstorm Sandy, local community groups sprung to action, providing emergency relief to residents in the New York  and New Jersey.

At the end of October 2012, Sandy claimed the lives of more than 100 people, mostly in New York and New Jersey, left millions without electricity, destroyed tens of thousands of homes, and paralyzed public transportation systems like the Metropolitan Transit Authority in New York City, according to Stephen Flynn’s CNN report.

As soon as the storm ended, “Occupy Sandy [along with the websites 350.org and Recovers.org] coordinated more than three thousand volunteers to offer emergency relief to New Yorkers not receiving timely, and much needed assistance,” Paul E. McGinniss wrote for Ecowatch.org. Occupy Sandy provided information for volunteers and for those who needed help in all five boroughs: where to get food, water, medical attention or temporary housing. Chinatown’s local community group CAAAV, which helps low-income immigrants and refugees in New York City, helped Lower Manhattan residents faster than FEMA.

The same was true for Staten Islanders. “It took three days before any government agency came to help. Staten Island took care of themselves by helping one another,” Anthony Raiola, a Staten Island resident and volunteer for Occupy Sandy said.

“Most of the initial help that Staten Islanders received was from the Red Cross and the efforts of residents and businesses in the community,” Kiwan Stewart said.

For more coverage of Occupy Sandy, read “Occupy Sandy: ‘Mutual Aid, Not Charity,” a web-exclusive article by IndyKids kid reporter Georga Reed-Stamm, age 10.

Hurricane Sandy
Superstorm Sandy approaching New Jersey. PHOTO: NOAA.gov